The House Where the Hardest Things Happened
A Memoir About Belonging
By Kate Young Caley
(Shaw Books, Paperback, 9780877880738, 176pp.)
Publication Date: December 16, 2003
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“Then one morning my [Sunday school teacher used my mother] as an example of sin for our lesson.… I remember asking my mother, ‘What does hypocrite mean?’ She couldn’t find a way to answer. I started to cry. She set her jaw. That was the last Sunday we went.”
Growing up in a small town in New Hampshire, Kate Young Caley attended a strong community church where everyone was treated like family, members selflessly helped one another, and all the kids were made to feel special. Then, suddenly, everything changed. Her father was hospitalized for many months and her mother was forced to take a job as a waitress to support the family. But the job required Kate’s mother to serve alcohol, which went against the church’s covenant, and the family, banned from attending services, soon found itself emotionally ostracized from the community.
In this compelling memoir, Kate Young Caley recounts the hurt and confusion she felt as a young girl, her subsequent questions concerning the Church, and her thoughtful and determined personal journey back to God. At once the story of a family profoundly transformed by tragedy and an incisive look at the meaning of God’s love, The House Where the Hardest Things Happened beautifully illustrates what it’s like to try and find God when you’ve been told you have no right to Him.
Kate Young Caley is a speaker and award-winning writer. She lives on a hill outside of Boston with her husband and their two daughters.
“Many centuries ago, St. Augustine wrote that our hearts are restless until they come to rest in God. Kate Caley’s memoir is a priceless study of both the restlessness and the rest.”
–Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God
“This is the story of a loving family in a dysfunctional world. Wounded outrageously by their church, the Youngs never lose faith. Up to their necks in hard work and hard times, they remain hopeful, adventurous, sweetly eccentric. Their daughter’s thoughtful, affectionate reflections make a wonderful tribute.”
–Betty Smartt Carter, novelist and author of Home Is Always the Place You Just Left
“A tender, thoughtful exploration of the life of a family with more than its share of suffering, in clear and exquisite writing. This spiritual memoir should appeal to anyone who has struggled with the damage that church can do to faith.”
–Molly Wolf, author of Angels and Dragons
“The House Where the Hardest Things Happened teaches us, moves us, challenges us in our hypocrisy and exclusivism in God’s name. It is an exquisitely described journey, a pilgrimage toward a spiritual home.… It is a celebration of life in the midst of loss. It is a testimony to God’s redemptive love and faithfulness. It is an accessible lesson in advanced spirituality.”
–Louis J. Mitchell, Th.D., Presbyterian pastor and pastor/theologian, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey
“A thoughtful, luminous addition to the literature of faith.”